The Ford Explorer has come a long way since its inception, changing and evolving with the times. But not every year is perfect for the model – in fact, some years are worse than others. Automotive buyers always hope to make a sound investment that will provide them with years of reliable service.
Oftentimes, the key to finding that reliable automobile rests in researching which model years you should avoid. To assist potential Ford Explorer purchasers, this article will dive into some of the worst Ford Explorer years to avoid and present the best Ford Explorer years to buy.
The Worst Ford Explorer Years To Avoid
Ford explorer has had its own challenges in the past, especially during the first years of production. The 1990s were a rough time for the Ford Explorer.
Just about every year during that decade saw some sort of problem with the vehicle, ranging from engine fires to fuel leaks. In fact, the Explorer was so problematic that Consumer Reports named it one of the worst cars of the decade.
We won’t be able to cover all the worst Ford Explorer years to avoid, we shall, therefore, give the common issues with a certain range of Ford Explorer years.
1. 1991-1994 Ford Explorers
The first few years of production were plagued with reports of engine fires and transmissions that would slip out of gear. Ford issued a recall for the transmission issue, but many customers were unhappy with the quality of the repairs.
2. 1995-2001 Ford Explorers
These model years are generally considered to be the worst of the bunch. Complaints include everything from transmission problems to leaking coolant and oil seals. Many owners also reported issues with electrical components, such as door locks and windows sticking.
In the 1996 Ford Explorer year, the engine fires continued, as did the fuel leaks. Additionally, there were reports of faulty airbags and doors that wouldn’t stay shut.
1998 saw some improvements for the Explorer, but not enough to make it a good year. Engine fires and fuel leaks continued to be an issue, as did door latch problems and faulty airbags. Additionally, many Explorers experienced transmission problems this year.
Problems with the 2002 Ford Explorer
There are a plethora of issues with the 2002 model year, including transmission problems, engine fires, and gasoline leaks.
Because of this, many owners have had trouble attempting to maintain their Explorers working properly. Owners have even had to completely replace their engines in some circumstances.
Thankfully, Ford has addressed these problems with many recalls and service bulletins. Be sure to conduct research and speak with a skilled mechanic if you’re thinking about buying a used Ford Explorer.
Problems with the 2003 Ford Explorer
The 2003 Ford Explorer is frequently criticized for stalling, especially when it is not in use. It can pose a severe safety risk since it causes the vehicle to lose power in traffic. The transmission may slip or jerk when changing gears, which is another issue.
In addition, a lot of customers have expressed frustration with paint chipping, windshield leaks, and problematic airbag activation.
Problems with the 2004 Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer’s 2004 model year has been linked to a number of problems, including transmission troubles, brake and suspension problems, and engine stalling.
Many Explorer owners have complained about leaks, particularly in the sunroof and around the windows.
2005 Ford Explorer problems
The 2005 Ford Explorer has problems with its interior accessories, engine, transmission, and body paint. In snowy or slippery weather, the SUV is extremely challenging to drive. Ford has recalled several Explorer models, and it is currently facing numerous legal actions.
2006-2010 Ford Explorers
The sixth-generation Explorer saw even more improvements, but quality issues persisted. Customers complained about rough shifting transmissions, uncomfortable seats, and leaky sunroofs.
2011-2017 Ford Explorers
The most recent Explorer model years have been much improved in terms of quality and reliability. However, there have been some reports of infotainment system glitches and fuel economy that isn’t as advertised. Overall, though, these model years are much better than those of the previous years.
Common Problems with Ford Explorers
1. Body Paint Issues
In recent years, The Explorer has received reports of body paint of poor quality. Dark-colored cars are especially prone to this issue since flaws in the paint job are more obvious.
Sometimes the paint job is so bad that you can see the raw metal underneath. Ford has acknowledged the issue and provided dealerships with a number of service bulletins describing the solution.
Many owners claim that even after numerous visits to the dealership, the issue still exists.
2. Transmitter problems
These issues can include the car stuttering when shifting gears, feeling as though it is “slipping” out of gear, or flat-out refusing to engage gears.
The transmission might even completely fail in some circumstances. These issues could be dangerous since a sudden lack of power could make it challenging to operate the car.
Owners of Ford Explorers should be aware of these potential issues as a result, and at the first sign of trouble, have their vehicles inspected by a qualified mechanic.
3. Engine Problems
The most frequent problem is engine failure, which can happen suddenly and result in a total breakdown.
This may occasionally even pose a risk to your safety. Ford has addressed the issue with recalls and other repairs, but many owners have reported that the problems still exist.
Best Ford Explorer Years To Buy
Even though we mentioned that previous years of the Ford Explorer have issues, it doesn’t mean erase the fact that they were one of the best cars during those years.
Also bear in mind that other good car makers also have their own problems then and even now. Having said that, there best Ford Explorers years among these years. We shall discuss these years to enable you to make a good decision.
1. 2010 Ford Explorer
In particular, 2010 is the final year for the classic AWD/FWD switch before a terrain selection dial was introduced in 2011. This is a significant issue for many drivers, especially those who enjoy off-roading.
The V8 engine, which significantly aids in towing and is usually regarded as being superior to the V6 in terms of performance, is also the last in the Explorer series to be offered as an option for 2010.
Last but not least, it is the final Explorer model to come standard with back-wheel drive, which mostly affects boaters. This will be a deal-breaker for some folks if nothing else.
2. 2010 Ford Explorer
The 2011 model, on the other hand, is a little more technologically sophisticated and robust than its older sibling. Additionally, it has a significant advantage in adverse weather and a cozier interior.
In conclusion, there are a few Ford Explorer model years you should avoid when shopping for one. 2002 and 2003 models have the most reported issues, so these would be the worst Ford Explorers to purchase.
2004-2006 models may have some minor problems but they’re still considered decent buys. So if you’re in the market for a used SUV, make sure to do your research before making any decisions.
Overall, the Ford Explorer is a great SUV for those that need extra space or off-road capabilities. It’s important to take into account the year, miles, and maintenance history when determining which Ford Explorer model is best for you.
Whether you opt for a newer or older model, there are plenty of options out there. Just make sure to steer clear of those 2002 and 2003 models!